Thursday: Win 3-0
The UC Irvine men’s volleyball team swept Cal Baptist 3-0 in a non-conference match last Wednesday. In each game, the Anteaters defeated the Lancers by a score of 30-21.
Last year’s national champions began their quest to defend the title with a win out of the gates as the Lancers begin 0-1. The Anteaters were coached by assistants David Kniffin and Mark Presho, who will be replacing Head Coach John Speraw for the first six matches, while Speraw serves as an assistant coach with the U.S. National team at the NORCECA Men’s Continental Olympic Qualification Championship in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Speraw will be looking for his 100th career win (99-57) when he returns to the team on Jan. 13.
Cal Baptist struggled to find a remedy for UCI’s effective serving. In game one, UCI fired four aces, including back-to-back aces by Aaron Harrell to give the Anteaters a 22-16 lead, while Cal Baptist had five service errors in the set.
Outside hitter Taylor Wilson led UCI to a 30-21 victory in game two with five kills. Jordan DuFault put away all four of his attempts, while middle blocker Brett Kohout had three block assists. Cal Baptist hurt its own cause by hitting .037 (7-6-27) in the game.
The Anteaters used a 9-4 run in game three to take a 27-19 advantage. A Lancer service error ended the game (30-21) and the match.
Wilson led UCI with 12 kills, seven digs and four block assists. Freshman Cory Yoder followed with 11 kills, five digs and four total blocks. Freshman Jordan DuFault had nine kills and fired five aces, which ranks tied for fifth in the UCI match record books.
Harrell tallied eight kills, two aces and five blocks, while Kohout ended the night with a career-high five block assists. Setter Anthony Spittle made his UCI debut with 35 assists, six digs, an ace and two blocks.
The Anteaters dominated the net, recording 11.5 blocks to Cal Baptist’s 5.5. The Anteaters hit .384 for the match compared to CBU’s .188.
Friday: Win 3-1
Taylor Wilson notched a career-high 22 kills to lead the UC Irvine men’s volleyball team to a 3-1 (30-21, 30-26, 28-30, 35-33) victory over UC Santa Barbara in the first match of the UCSB/Elephant Bar Tournament at Robertson Gym on Friday afternoon. Fifth-ranked UCI improved to 2-0 while No. 14 UCSB opened the year 0-1.
Wilson recorded a career-best seven blocks to go along with his match-high 22 kills, three aces and seven digs. DuFault had a career-high 14 kills, while freshman Cory Yoder posted a career-best 13 kills. Harrell hit .769 on 11 kills in 13 attempts and only one error. It was a performance that ranks as the 13th all-time best hitting feat by an Anteater. Kohout pitched in a career best seven kills and six blocks. Libero Brent Asuka had a match-high 12 digs, while Spittle recorded a career-high 57 assists, six digs and three blocks. Jeff Menzel led UCSB with 21 kills, while Sam Moisenco added 12 kills in the loss.
UCI trailed 20-17 in game three, before scoring four straight on consecutive Gaucho hitting errors to take a 21-20 advantage. UCI continued to lead 28-26 before UCSB scored four unanswered (30-38) and force a fourth game.
But the Anteaters did not let the match get interesting. With game four tied at 33-33, UCSB committed a hitting error before DuFault ended the game with his 14th kill of the match, 35-33 and the match 3-1.
On Friday, Jan. 11, the Anteaters will begin the first of 22 conference games as they host the University of Pacific in the Bren Events Center at 7 p.m.